Writer Calls Yoga Pants 'An Assault On Manners'

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 
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You can be successful while wearing yoga pants. Trust us.

One popular argument about yoga pants is that wearing them makes women so comfortable that we lose our ambition and are content to do nothing but lay around the house, wearing our deliciously comfy pants. Well, to that we say… wrong.

The reason that yoga pants have become so popular among women is that they’re easy, and God knows we could all use a little bit of easy in our lives. In her article, Yoga Pants Are Comfy, They’re Also An Assault On Manners And A Nihilistic Threat, Kerry Folan romanticizes the days of long ago — specifically, the 1940s — as a time when women cared about what they wore and dressed their children appropriately because it was considered good manners. Well, women in the 1940’s weren’t supposed to care about much else besides presenting themselves and their families in a certain way, getting dinner on the table, and stuffing their hopes and dreams in the places where all the “bad thoughts” go.

Today, women are more fully part of the world — we have families and jobs and causes and every single other Goddamn thing to deal with on a daily basis. We have priorities that go beyond what other people think of the way we look. Folan argues that “When we board a flight or run to the grocery store swaddled in cotton-lycra, we are saying to the people around us that our own comfort is our first priority.” To that, we say: damn straight. Women have spent most of history caring for everyone else’s needs and worrying about other people’s comfort. The fact that we can now make our own comfort a priority, let alone our first priority, is something to be celebrated, not judged.

The concern that yoga pants and leggings are a sign of a life without any ambition makes the assumption that when you’re comfortable it’s because you don’t care anymore. In fact, being comfortable means nothing of the sort. It means that you have priorities, and one of them is not looking a certain way for other people.

You don’t have to be uncomfortable as some kind of martyrdom to success. You don’t have to curl your hair, wear make-up, and put on a pair of heels in order to prove that you’re a hard worker because, “Hey, look at the hard work I’m doing walking in these terrible shoes and getting my eyeliner just right.” No. Put on your sneakers and your yoga pants and get your shit done because you have a lot of it to do. That doesn’t mean you’ve given up — on the contrary, it means that you’ve given up on bullshit and invested in some self-goddamn-care while getting other things done that you consider more important. Sure, you could wake up an hour earlier to “get yourself together,” or you could get an extra hour of sleep before slogging through your endless day.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that when you work in an office and have a meeting in the board room you should go in wearing your leggings and a “Suck It, 2016” t-shirt. We all know that. But to say that women should dress up everywhere they go as a sign of self-respect and work ethic is nonsense. For example, there’s the former roommate of Folan’s who worked in a gym. She would: “…get fully dressed each morning, including hair, makeup, and heels, just to walk the 10 blocks to work and then get undressed again.” To some, that may seem praiseworthy. But to others, that seems like a depressing waste of time.

Women should wear whatever the hell we want because that is our right. We don’t need to prove to anyone that we are powerful, smart, and motivated to accomplish great things regardless of what we’re wearing. We know that about ourselves already — we don’t need our clothes to tell the people at the gas station, too. If you feel like spending time making yourself up before you go to the grocery store gives you a boost, then have at it.

The rest of us will have been there and back, looking sloppy as hell, before you’re finished curling your lashes.

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